Europe

Syrian government intensifies attacks around Damascus, Hama

Syrian activists say government forces have intensified their bombardment of opposition-held areas around Damascus and the central city of Hama.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, as well as areas on the eastern edges of the capital, were hit by at least 50 airstrikes on Monday morning.

The activist group says scores of airstrikes also targeted the countryside north of Hama.

Syrian state media said government forces have reclaimed the village of Maardes after losing it to rebels two weeks ago.

Syrian rebels and al-Qaida-linked fighters launched twin attacks on the contested areas two weeks ago. They reached within 10 kilometers, or 6 miles, of Hama, Syria's fourth largest city, before government forces and allied militias stopped the advance.